From the Chief of Defence Force
24 February 2015
The Prime Minister announced this afternoon the government’s decision to send New Zealand Defence Force personnel on a non-combat training mission to Iraq. The deployment will be up to two years and is likely to begin in May.
As the government’s principal military advisor, I weighed up the likely outcomes and the risks of supporting the international coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
ISIL’s actions have united an international coalition of 62 countries, with about one third providing a military contribution.
In theatre, we will most likely be working alongside the Australian Defence Force, providing training to Iraqi security forces so they can regain the combat skills they need to roll back the threat posed by ISIL and deter its further advances.
Since the 1950s, the NZDF has trained and partnered with other security forces – most recently, in Afghanistan. We have a track record of providing quality military training. This is where we are again going to make a difference.
Although this is not a combat mission, we recognise the inherent risks of sending our personnel to Iraq. I assure our personnel and their families that we will do everything possible to ensure their safety.
Lieutenant General Tim Keating
Chief of Defence Force